I've broken this down into 5 Key Steps for you. It's time to gear up for success. The challenge kicks off in just a few days!
- Commit: Make a strong, clear commitment stating exactly what you will and will not be doing. For this challenge, you are committing to eating no refined sugar, including syrup, honey, and all the other types of refined sugar out there (see the Guide for a list). You could also commit to using only whole fruit to sweeten things up. For example, you can use ripe mashed banana or soaked pureed dates to sweeten baked goods. I recommend that you also give up non-nutritive sweeteners too, like aspartame, sucralose, stevia and saccharin.
- Plan: Success almost always begins with a solid plan. In the case of the Sugar Free 14, a plan for what you will be eating over these 2 weeks is a great idea. Plan for meals, snacks and drinks. Make plan A for when things are working out as expected. Make plan B for when plan A isn't working for you. And, make plan C for when things get really tough or you don't have access to the foods you planned to eat (last minute invitations to eat out, parties, tornadoes, or any major emotional upsets or routine interrupters). Check out the free, done-for-you meal plan and meal planning template in the free Step by Step Guide.
- Prep: After you make your plan, make a shopping list. Get the foods you'll need for the week. Get the sugar-containing foods out of the house, or at least put them away where they are not in sight. If you can't get rid of them entirely, then put them in a cabinet you don't normally open, or put them in an opaque container at the back of the pantry. Once you've got the right foods in the house, go ahead and clean, cut, portion produce. Put portion sizes of nuts in little snack containers. Make a few meals ahead, and get yourself prepped for a week of easy eats, not sweets.
- Post Support: Post in the private group to support others and to reach out when you need support. People who recruit support during behavior change endeavors are more successful! Also, are there people at home or work that you could ask for support? What kind of support do you need? You might have to ask your significant other to NOT bring ice cream home, for example. If you haven't already joined the group, it's FREE & you can join here!
- Pleasure: Sweets are a really easy go-to when you need a little boost, but they aren't doing you any favors in the long run. Clearly identify several other easy access things that give you a pleasure boost. For me, this could be listening to music, taking a walk, going out for coffee (plain), or sitting outside reading a book or magazine. There is a place to write this in the free Step by Step Guide too. I'd love for you to post your (G-rated) pleasurable activities in the comments below!
You’ve got this! I’m not perfect, and you don’t have to be either. But, you can give it your all for just 14 days. You'll reduce your cravings, strengthen your willpower, and be part of a like-minded community who values nutrition as a path to health too. I'm so glad you're here!